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HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock Print THE BRIDGE OF JAPAN 1856


Availability: 1 available

HIROSHIGE Japanese Woodblock Print THE BRIDGE OF JAPAN 1856


Nihonbashi, Clearing After Snow

Number 1 from the series One Hundred Famous Views of Edo

Date: original 5/1856, this Showa era from recarved wood blocks
oban, approx. 10.25" x 15.75" overall
Condition: VG, slight wrinkling in lower left margin, otherwise no flaws of note
Impression: Fine, solid key lines, precise registration, with significant surface texture, fine bokashi treatments
Color: Fine, deep saturated color
Documentation: One Hundred Famous Views of Edo Brazillier, 1986, print 1

THIS ICONIC VIEW OF EDO IS PERFECT AS A SYMBOLIC START OF THIS GREAT SERIES. From an elevated viewpoint, we look west across Nihonbashi, The Bridge of Japan, Bridge of the Rising Sun, across the grounds of Edo Castle to the upper right, toward the perfect form of Fuji to the left.

Everything in this view suggests freshness and plenty. It is an early morning after new snow. Reading from the bottom, we first encounter the Edo fish market and can see fresh fish of all sizes already laid out for display, the street filling with browsing retail vendors and street peddlers. Up the river come fishing boats, riding on a deep fan of blue that suggests the sea and its bounty. They are covered with mat-roofs to protect the freshness of their cargo.

The great bridge itself, from which distances to all parts of Japan were measured, is already busy with early morning traffic. Beyond it to the right is Ichikoubashi. Just above it to the left stand fireproof mud-walled storehouses. Far out of scale and imprecise in placement, these white faces and tiled roofs are again symbolic, representing the power of the city of Edo to provide for its citizens, a promise that was rarely broken. Next we see the shogun's castle in the middle ground against the right border of the print, which is balanced by the majestic snow-covered Mount Fuji at the upper left.

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